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California's super bloom is expected to be huge this year
Posted on 20/02/2019 11 shares

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Every once in awhile when the conditions are just right, the California desert explodes in a colorful cacophony of wildflowers. But how and why does this phenomenon happen?

What is it?

What is it?
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The California desert is one of the driest places in the United States, but once a year the arid region turns into a wild spectrum of color as wildfires bloom across the landscape in vast numbers. An unusually rainy winter combined with warmer spring temperatures can create the perfect storm for what's known as a desert bloom, or super bloom.

This year, desert regions in Southern California like the Coachella Valley, Anza State Park, and Joshua Tree National Park are all experiencing the perfect combination of conditions for a super bloom, and the blossoming has already started.

The unfortunate truth

The unfortunate truth
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But it isn't all good news. Fire, along with heavy rainfall, is one of the elements that helps wildflower seeds germinate, and as a result, this year's super bloom is expected to be even bigger than usual. Last year, California experienced the worst wildfires in its history, devastating towns and killing 85 people.

Wildfires are a natural occurrence in dry, arid regions, and under normal conditions they would be part of the ebb and flow of nature. But California experienced its hottest temperatures on record in July 2018, which created the perfect conditions for the abnormally large wildfires according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Climate change played a part in the devastation, but also as urban areas expand into high-risk sections of forest, more and more people are put in danger of exposure to wildfires.

As urban areas spread out and the Earth continues to heat up, it's likely that we'll be seeing more flowers rather than fewer in the California desert. But there is definitely a cost to the super bloom.

When and where to see them

When and where to see them
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Some of the best places to spot the flowers are the Santa Monica Mountains, particularly Malibu Creek State Park, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which has already begun blooming. Even Arizona is seeing an abnormal abundance of blooms outside Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert. The blooms are expected to last from March until April.

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